When it comes to administering long-term care, there is no doubt that Medicaid, Medicare, surveys and the Minimum Data Set are ultra-important topics. But let’s not forget what’s really at the top of the list.

The answer jumped out at me as a reminder several months ago. I had written what I thought was a pretty simple, low-frills item. It didn’t reveal new study findings or discuss a new way to care for residents. It wasn’t even really much of an article but rather an event announcement.

It touched on quality of life and the single factor that is No. 1 for so many long-term care residents: Food, or more accurately, dining.

A seminar was going to discuss how surveyors are nosing further into dining issues. Online visitors at www.mcknights.com read the notice about it, well, hungrily. It wasn’t even story coverage of the meeting, mind you.

Dining and improving the dining experience get their due share of coverage from long-term care writers. So much so that it would be understandable if some people occasionally rolled their eyes over it.

But the popularity of that item several weeks ago provided a powerful reminder of what we all have heard in one form or another (but might forget): Home might be where the heart is, but more important is that the heart is never far from the stomach.